State troopers charging driver of Jasper Co. bus crash - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

State troopers charging driver of Jasper Co. bus crash

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JASPER CO., SC (WTOC) -

South Carolina State Troopers are charging a Jasper County bus driver with driving too fast.

He hit a tree and flipped a school bus Friday morning.

These pictures, taken by the Jasper County School District, show the damage.

Eight of the ten students went to the hospital.

The bus was on its way to Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School when the crash happened.

A neighbor says it damaged part of his property but he's just glad he was at the right place at the right time to help those students.

Around 6:30am, neighbor Louis Smith had just walked out to get his mail when he heard something strange.

"I hear like dragging or something or skiing and thought 'that must be a truck," he said.

But it wasn't a truck.

State troopers say 21 year old school bus driver LaCharles Singleton veered off the side of the road after reaching down to pick up something from the floorboard.

"Once he realized he was off the road, he jerked the steering wheel to the left side of the road, at that time, the school bus struck a tree and overturned," said StateTrooper Hannah Wimberly.

"It snapped the top part off," added Smith.  

He says he and a friend sprung into action after realizing there were students trapped inside of it.

"They were disoriented and we just kept saying, 'come to us, come to us,' we just pulled them out from the windshield, bringing them out, just getting them away from the bus because it was smoking so bad, we didn't know if it was on fire or what."

He said they called 911 and within minutes, first responders arrived and transported eight of the ten students to nearby hospitals.

"The condition of the bus is that it was totaled this morning, all students have been released from the hospital and are in good condition," said Shellie Murdaugh, Jasper Co School District PIO.

Smith says the bus broke off part of his mailbox but that's the least of his concerns.

"Thank God none of the children…it wasn't death or nothing like that."

The school district says it has replaced that bus with another one and will continue normal bus operations.

The district has placed the driver on unpaid administrative leave until it finishes its investigation.

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